Best Practices for Serving Transfer StudentsOhio Transfer ConferenceMay 30, 2008Jill Oakley-JeppeEducational ManagerHigher Education ServicesThe College Board
Preview I. The Community College Landscape: A Primer & Fact Book • Critical Student Transitions • The College Board’s Interest in Serving Community Colleges • Q&A, and Wrap-Up
Our Mission • The College Board’s mission is to connect students to college success and opportunity. We are a not-for-profit membership organization committed to excellence andequity in education.
Membership • Community colleges need to be at the table with K-12 and four-year institutions • The College Board is one of the few national organizations bringing together all education constituencies to the table. • How do we grow community college membership?
I. The Community College Landscape: A Primer and Fact Book • How can we describe effectively the scope and depth of America’s community colleges? • Who are the students that attend these institutions? • Let’s do the numbers…
Community Colleges are Geographically Accessible • Number of community colleges: 1,158 • This includes: • 979 public community colleges • 148 private community colleges • 31 tribal community colleges American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), 2005
Community colleges are the least expensive higher education institution • Average annual fees/tuition for.. • Private four-year institution: $22,218 • Public four-year institution: $5,836 • Public community college: $2,272 The College Board, 2006
Community colleges enroll nearly half of all students in higher education • Total enrollment: 6.6 million students • Comprise 46% of all higher education enrollment • Comprise 58% of all higher education enrollment in public institutions • Between 1993 and 2002, CC enrollment grew 17.6% compared to 13% for four-year institutions. AACC, 2005
Community colleges attract students from diverse ethnic & racial backgrounds
Community college students are generally older, but younger students are enrolling in greater numbers • Average age of CC student: 29 years • But 49% of all CC students are 24 years or younger • In the last 10 years, the proportion of students under 22 years has increased from 32% to 42% of all CC enrollments AACC, 2005; Chronicle of Higher Ed, 2006
Community colleges are less well-off financially • Nearly 50% of all low-income students attend a community college • About 10% of all high-income students attend a community college Kahlenburg, 2004
Community colleges attract more students who are first generation college-goers • About 45% of all community college students come from families with no history of college-going. • For four-year institutions, this proportion is about 29% AACC, 2005
Community colleges attract more students with specific “risk factors”
Community colleges attract students who need help in basic skills • As many as one-half of all entering community college students must complete at least one remedial course in basic English or mathematics
II. Critical Student Transitions: What’s Working and What’s Not… • Central Issues • Student preparation for college • Student persistence and transfer in college • Student completion • Critical Transition Points • High school-to-community college • Community college-to-four-year institution
High School to Community College Transition • What’s working? • The “second chance” function of community colleges • What’s Not? • The “first chance” function of community colleges
Factors that Influence Bachelor’s Degree Completion • Behaviors (“Academic Momentum”) • Intensity and Quality of HS Curriculum • Doing well in that curriculum (upper 40% of class) • No delay between enrollment in high school and college • Participation in summer sessions • Completion of 20 units in first year of college • Other Factors • SES • Educational expectations/aspirations Adelman, 2005, 2006
These same factors are negatively related to community college attendance • Behaviors (Lack of Academic Momentum) • (Low) Intensity of HS Curriculum • (Not) Doing well in that curriculum (upper 40%) • (Delay) between enrollment in high school and college • (No) Participation in summer sessions • (Less than) Completion of 20 units in first year of college • Other Variables • (Low) SES • (Low) Educational expectations/aspirations
Second Chances are good, but… • “No problem…Community colleges are about second chances. If students lose out in high school, we can bring up to speed when they get to us…” • True… but it is a gamble…Can we get them to enroll? Can we convince them to persist? Do we have the resources to help them sustain this effort?
…first chances are better. • Why? Because these students may lose “academic momentum” • Nearly two-thirds come to CCs needing remedial assistance • Many never complete their educational goals • Some data suggest they’ve already lost momentum in high school….let’s take a look….
High school student perceptions of community colleges… • Some students do not see the efficacy of working hard in high school as a means of achieving their educational goals. • This is especially true of low-achieving students (whether college-bound or not) • This is not “senioritis”
Many low-achieving high school seniors believe they can earn a degree (Data from Rosenbaum, 2001)
Students who believe they can earn a college degree in spite of low achievement, exert little effort in high school • HS students perceive school as irrelevant for their future lives & believe that weak efforts extracts no penalty • But effort in high school is strongly related to whether students see school as relevant to their future lives • “Effort variable” mediates effect of teacher help, school help, and parental help and is independent of a students’ SES
Long-term impact on college students who do not make an effort in high school • Over 83% of students with low grades who planned to go to college and earn a BA degree fail to do so. • Over 92% of students with low grades who planned to go college and earn an AA degree fail to do so. (Rosenbaum, 2001)
But if effort is so important, why are some students slacking off in high school….? “…some youths have misread the American emphasis on opportunity. Although Americans may believe that society should provide youths…with ‘second chances,’ youths [believe] that school failures never matter and their efforts are not necessary…these attitudes may justify their poor effort in high school. “ (Rosenbaum, 2001, p. 64)
Are we sending a mixed message? • The Paradox of Open Admissions • We are open to all who might to benefit, offering unprecedented higher education access… • …but many students believe that such access comes at no cost… • Student perceptions are not entirely incorrect “…low grades are not a barrier to enrolling in two-year colleges. College bound students who think high school effort is irrelevant to their future plans are partly correct – high school grades are not an obstacle to enrollment at two-year colleges” (Rosenbaum, 2001, p. 65)
How should we respond? Clarify our Messages • High school grades are the most important predictor of success (and effort is the driver) • Balancing the “access” message with the “preparation” message: Community colleges have open doors, but academic success must be achieved at a higher (college) level • Rekindle academic momentum: Prevent delay to college, promote summer school, complete appropriate preparation for college.
How should we respond? Provide academic “check-ups” • Community colleges should offer academic “check-ups” to high school students • Identify basic skills strengths and weaknesses of students prior to community college entry • Tools: ACCUPLACER, PSAT • Opportunity to align curricula, establish baseline criteria, and combat negative image of the community college
High School to College Transition Continuing the College Board Success Model for students in K-12 prepares students well for community college success Many CC Bound Students Begin Planning for College Here (Late 11th or 12 Grade) Advanced Placement® (Community) COLLEGESUCCESS ACCUPLACER “Academic Check-Ups” in 12th Grade Pre-AP ACCUPLACER ACCUPLACER PSAT/NMSQT® SAT® PSSS CollegeEd®:Information, Empowerment, and Inspiration Springboard™: Critical Thinking and Academic Preparedness
The Community College-to-Four-Year College/University Transition • What’s working? • Student Satisfaction with Community College • Remediation Policies • Transfer • What’s not? • Need to transfer more students • Need more counselors, planning tools, professional development • Policies that work against transfer and degree completion
Community College-to-Four-Year College/University Transition Supporting community college students and counselors helps prepare students for the transition to a four-year college or university. CC Counselor/Educator Resources (e.g., Counselor Sourcebook) Transfer & BA Degree Success Transition from High School CLEP® ACCUPLACER® “Academic Check Ups” (12th Grade) MyRoad® Student Resources:Information, Inspiration, Preparation
Students are satisfied • Eight in ten students rate their community college experience as “good” or “excellent.” • Seven in ten believe that the community college provided the support they needed to be successful. • Nine in ten students would recommend a community college to a friend or family member. Community College Survey of Student Engagement, 2004
Factors Relevant to BA Completion (For all students) • Earlier Variables that Remain Important… • Quality and intensity of the HS Curriculum • No delay between enrollment in high school and college • Participation in summer sessions • Completion of 20 units in first year of college • SES • (Educational expectations) Adelman, 2006
Factors Relevant to BA Completion (For all students) • New Variables • GPA trend over time • Cumulative (collegiate) math credits • Continuous enrollment • Part-time status (-) • Excessive no penalty repeats/withdrawals (-) Adelman, 2006
Factors Relevant to Transfer (For community college students) • Credits in collegiate math • Credits in summer session • Continuous enrollment • Excessive no penalty repeats/withdrawals from courses Adelamn 2006
Behaviors Relevant to Transfer and BA Degree Completion • Everything in earlier slide (Cumulative math credits, summer session, continuous enrollment, no excessive withdrawals/repeats), plus: • More units completed at the community college • “Classic” (Junior) transfer • Part-time status (-)
Side Note 1: • Classic Transfer and “Swirling” • For traditional aged students, transferring from a community college to a four-year institution is a positive factor in BA degree completion • This is also true of four-year-to-four-year college transfer (though not as significant) • Swirling in and out of institutions (whether CC and/or four-year is negative)
Side Note 2: • Remediation • General view is that remediation is a drag on degree completion • No one recommends that students come to school needing help in basic skills that they should have gained in high school • But recent evidence shows that it is not a drag on transfer behavior, degree completion, or academic momentum
Side Note 2: Remediation “That there is no difference in the large percentages of the two community college groups who completed course work in pre-collegiate mathematics – 53 percent of the transfer-bachelor’s [group] versus 57 percent of those who earned lesser (if any) credentials – suggests that this type of remedial work, while widespread in community college settings, by itself is not an impediment to earning a bachelor’s degree” [Adelman, 2005, p. 59]
Side Note 3: The Paradox of Part-Time Enrollment • Advantages • Promotes access for traditionally underrepresented groups • Represents a important element of the community college student-focused culture • Disadvantages • Drags down AA, transfer, and BA attainment • Does not prepare students well for the transition to a four-year college and university
Side Note 4: • Grading Policies • Excessive course withdrawals and repeats significantly undermine degree completion • Withdrawing from and repeating 20% or more of courses reduces probability of completing BA by nearly 50% • Analysis does not include courses added/dropped during regular “add/drop” periods • The analysis counts courses attempted (whether or not credited was awarded) Adelman, 2006, p. 73-74
Side Note 4: Grading Policies • These grading policies are not unique to community colleges, but are nonetheless widespread • Fifty five (55) percent of all colleges & universities allow students to repeat any course for a better grade • Fifty five (55) percent allow students to repeat a course as many times as they wished • Four (4) percent of institutions do not allow repeats. AACRAO Survey , 2002 (Quoted in Adelman, 2006, p. 74)
III. Summing Up • What’s Working… • Second Chance Function • Remediation • Transfer • Student Satisfaction • What’s Not Working… • High School connection • Not Enough Transfers • Academic policies and practices that serve as disincentives to degree attainment (part-time enrollment & withdrawal and repeat policies)
Advice to HS Students Preparing for Community College • Get an academic “check-up” in high school to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses • Focus on math and English skills • To prepare for collegiate math and English • Don’t delay in enrollment • Earn college credit while in high school • AP, dual enrollment, summer sessions • Helps prepare for college, discourages delay, and begins the road to the 20 unit threshold.
Advice to Institutions (HS to CC) • Partner with local high schools to administer diagnostic testing that… • Helps prepare students for college • Encourages curriculum alignment • Undermines negative perceptions of community colleges • Maintain/enhance remedial programs • Tighten up withdrawal/repeat rules • Promote policies that accept college credit while students are in high school (AP, dual enrollment, summer sessions)
Advice to CC Students Preparing for Transfer • Stay continuously enrolled (even if part-time!) • Complete at least 20 units in first year • Use summer sessions strategically to build and maintain momentum • Complete at least one course in collegiate mathematics • Complete at least one course in English composition • Completion as many units as possible at the community college before transfer • Don’t “swirl”
Advice to Institutions that Prepare Transfer Students • Implement a minimum progress requirement (to encourage continuous enrollment) • Tighten up withdrawal/repeat rules • Encourage skill building in collegiate math and English composition • Encourage completion of major preparation • Support transfer at the junior level allowing students to complete both GE and prepare for a major • Expand advising services advising tools, and counselor professional development
IV. The College Board Community College Initiative • College Board wants to better serve community colleges as a means to: • Advance access and equity • Strengthen the high school-to-community college connection • Create professional development opportunities for community college counselors/staff • Highlight the importance of the transfer mission • National Office of Community College Initiatives, guided by the Community College Advisory Panel • Nationwide conversation with community college leaders
Foundational Strategies in Serving Community Colleges • Advancing Access and Equity • Supporting Student Preparation and Completion • Leveraging College Board Expertise • Listening and Responding • Encouraging Membership, Partnership, & Leadership